Judge told boy’s wish for foster family never realised

Homelessness is teenager’s “central fear” leaving care, Dublin District Family Court hears

Court-appointed guardian said the teenager had a “relatively difficult” experience in care. He had had no contact with his father and his mother was “ambivalent”.

Court-appointed guardian said the teenager had a “relatively difficult” experience in care. He had had no contact with his father and his mother was “ambivalent”.

 

Homelessness is a central fear for a teenager due to leave the care of the Child and Family Agency soon, Dublin District Family Court has been told.

Judge Brendan Toale was told that the teenager, who will turn 18 in the next few months, had wanted to live with a family ever since he was taken into care as a child, but he had been placed in residential units.

In a review of the case, his court-appointed guardian said the teenager had a “relatively difficult” experience in care. He had had no contact with his father and his mother was “ambivalent”.

Since coming into care, he had had “a real wish” to be placed with foster parents and felt he had been promised a foster family, but the promise was never realised.

He had now met a girlfriend and was spending a lot of time at her home. He had invested a lot in the relationship, the guardian said. “He wants to create the family that he has always wanted.”

The boy is neither in education nor work, but recently attended his first job interview.

He has a placement in a residential unit and the bed will remain available to him until he turns 18, but he has only been using it occasionally, as he had been staying with his girlfriend’s family. He has been warned the placement may not remain available to him after he turns 18, if he continues not to use it.

“One of his central fears is that he’ll be homeless,” the guardian said.

The social worker said she had encouraged the youth to use the placement at least twice a week. She had met his girlfriend’s mother, who had agreed to encourage him to use the placement. The mother also said she had had no difficulties with him being at her home.

The judge said the agency had made strenuous efforts to meet the teenager’s needs and his plan depended “to a large extent” on his engagement with it. He asked that his best wishes be passed on.

Cease contraception

In an application to extend an interim care order for the girl and her siblings, her social worker said the girl had been having unprotected sex before she came into care last year and there were concerns about her.

She was refusing to attend school and there were plans to encourage her to take part in a youth programme. The social worker said a lot of work had been done with the girl about the reality of having a baby, but she kept changing her mind about contraception.

The girl’s court-appointed guardian said she was drinking and putting herself at risk. He said a meeting would be held to see if anything more could be done to keep her safe.The court also heard the girl’s mother needed a cognitive assessment, but one had not yet been arranged for her.

The judge granted the interim care order for the children until the end of May, but said the case should be mentioned in two weeks time to assure him the mother’s assessment had been arranged.